House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-20.

Topics

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 759
Routine Proceedings

March 3rd, 2000 / 12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-20, an act to give effect to the requirement for clarity as set out in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Quebec Secession Reference, as reported (without amendment) from the legislative committee.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I will now give my ruling concerning report stage of Bill C-20.

There are 411 motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-20.

The motions will be grouped for debate as follows.

Group No. 1: Motions Nos. 1 to 12.

Group No. 2: Motions Nos. 13 to 68.

Group No. 3, Motions Nos. 69 to 83.

Group No. 4: Motions Nos. 84 to 89.

Group No. 5, Motions Nos. 90 to 411.

The voting patterns for the motions within each group are available at the table. The Chair will remind the House of each pattern at the time of voting.

I will now put Motions Nos. 1 to 12 to the House, but before that, on a point of order, the hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry.

Points Of Order
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This concerns the permissibility of some of my amendments to Bill C-20 at report stage, which I submitted this week to the Journals Branch.

I am rising now on a point of order so that you may rule on this, at your earliest convenience, before we start debating Bill C-20. The House of Commons Procedure and Practices , by Marleau and Montpetit, says on page 538, and I quote:

Points of Order respecting procedure must be raised promptly and before the question has passed to a stage at which the objection would be out of place.

This is of the utmost importance. Some of the amendments I am proposing are aimed at clarifying the wording of clauses 1(5) and 2(3) of Bill C-20.

These clauses state that the House of Commons shall take into account any views it considers to be relevant to the consideration of the question and the will to secede.

My amendments, which were rejected, are only aimed at specifying that these views can be the ones of the government of the province that wants to secede and, in my humble opinion, my amendments do not go beyond the scope of the bill. However, they were deemed out of order, which seems to indicate that my freedom of expression has been restricted.

I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, since you are the guardian of the privileges of members of the House, particularly those in the opposition. On this issue, the

House of Commons Procedure and Practice , by Marleau and Montpetit, also specifies, on page 261, and I quote:

It is the responsibility of the Speaker to act as the guardian of the rights and privileges of Members and of the House as an institution.

It goes on to say:

Freedom of speech may be the most important of the privileges accorded to Members of Parliament; it has been described as:

...a fundamental right without which they would be hampered in the performance of their duties. It permits them to speak in the House without inhibition, to refer to any matter or express any opinion as they see fit, to say what they feel needs to be said in the furtherance of the national interest and the aspirations of their constituents.

Since you are the guardian of the privileges of this House and of its members, I draw your attention to the consequences of ruling out of order the amendments I submitted as a member representing his fellow citizens.

With all due respect, I do not understand why I cannot discuss these amendments. Because you ruled them as being out of order, not only myself, but all the members of this House are prevented from debating them.

This is an important and urgent matter, but you should take the time to examine the situation and make an informed decision. Your ruling will determine the freedom that the members of this House will enjoy in the future. Neither I nor my colleagues want to see this freedom of speech challenged only because my amendments deal with Bill C-20.

To conclude, I would like to quote constitutional experts whom our PC colleague quoted this morning, namely professors Brun and Tremblay, who, in the fifth edition of their book on constitutional law, wrote the following:

The safeguarding the rights of the opposition is one of the most fundamental unwritten rules that the Speaker of the House must advocate, if necessary.

Mr. Speaker, we need you to be the guardian of our privilege to speak, to amend legislation, to introduce amendments that were ruled out of order and should not have been.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-20, an act to give effect to the requirement for clarity as set out in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Quebec Secession Reference, as reported (without amendment) from the legislative committee.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the report stage of Bill C-20, an act to give effect to the requirement for clarity as set out in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Quebec Secession Reference.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the crown will propose at the next sitting of the House a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stages.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Democracy, democracy.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I will consider what the hon. member had to say, I will think about it and I will come back to the House on this when we begin debate on Bill C-20.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House to have Motion No. 12, standing in the name of the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, now recorded as standing in the name of the hon. member for Mercier.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent of the House?