House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was driving.

Topics

An Act to Amend Certain Acts and Instruments and to Repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act
Government Orders

2:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The hon. member for St. John's West.

An Act to Amend Certain Acts and Instruments and to Repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act
Government Orders

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Madam Speaker, all the hon. gentleman wants to do is distract me from issues which are very pertinent to the bill but somewhat embarrassing for the member and his party.

I was saying that the minister really responsible for ACOA is the Minister of Industry. Now, knowing that, in case some people did not, do members think that a person in such a position might manipulate ACOA or the funds that flow through it? I leave it up to hon. members to answer that question.

However, clause 4 of the bill states that the board of ACOA can meet only once a year. To suggest that the board of such an important agency meet only once a year downgrades the agency and its potential and shows that the real decision making power is in the hands of government. The ironic thing about this is that on same page the bill creates an act establishing Telefilm Canada. The clauses describe the constitution of Telefilm Canada, a new agency that the government is putting together consisting of six members to be appointed by the governor in council. It goes on to say the board shall meet at least once every three months, so Telefilm Canada, now being created by the government as part of the bill, is important enough to meet every three months while the board of ACOA is now downgraded to meeting once a year.

I wonder if my hon. colleague from Prince Edward Island, whose area has benefited greatly from ACOA, now sees how importantly his government looks upon this agency which has been so helpful to our region. Maybe he, like I, will protest this downgrading of the board's authority.

The other interesting clause in the bill is about wiping out the old Fisheries Prices Support Board. If members were to speak to anybody in the fishing industry they would say that they have no objection to that, simply because the board has outlived its usefulness. With free trade now and competition factors affecting the industry, not only in relation to Canada dealing with the United States but Canada dealing with the world and vice versa, the Fisheries Prices Support Board and others are certainly no longer relevant. The deletion of that board would not have a negative effect on the fishing industry.

However, again, here we are a couple of days before the House closes for Christmas and we are spending time talking about deleting a board that is no longer relevant. I wonder why the people from the department of fisheries and the minister in particular are not here in front of the House. As I say this, I am presuming that my friend from Prince Edward Island, the chair of the fisheries standing committee, will stand up and agree with what I will say, because he more than any of us realizes the lack of impact on fisheries policy the minister has.

We have a Department of Fisheries and Oceans for which the funding has practically been totally eliminated. The only saving grace that the minister has had at all in recent years is the extra amount of money put into his department to buy out licences from people who are trying to get out of the fishery.

It is an amazing kind of mathematics that has been carried out. Hundreds and hundreds of licences have been bought out and millions and millions of dollars have been expended to do this. Yet when we total up the numbers there are more people fishing today than there were when the process was started. I am not sure what is happening here. I am certain, however, that the minister is not sure what is happening either.

If the minister is to bring something before the House, where is his request for funding to deal with wharves, harbours, dredging and sheltered basins for fishermen? Where is the request for funding to deal with the coast guard problems? If we fly into Canada today we go through all kinds of scrutiny. If we come in by road we are lined up at the borders. However, if we have anything from a dory to an ocean liner we can land anywhere in the country and nobody would know we were coming unless we called ahead.

These are the issues along with the aquaculture problem we are facing. While our aquacultural industry is on the verge of collapse because of competition from Chile, our Minister for International Trade sits by and does nothing. Shrimp fishermen in Atlantic Canada are trying to get their product into the European market. They are hit with a tariff while the Minister for International Trade sits by and does nothing.

It is frustrating when there are so many problems in the department to see that the only contribution of the minister in this session to our fishing industry was to wipe out the Fisheries Prices Support Board. Perhaps it is best to say nothing. What is the good of it when people we talk to do not understand the process anyway?

An Act to Amend Certain Acts and Instruments and to Repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act
Government Orders

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Do we have questions and comments on this legislation?

An Act to Amend Certain Acts and Instruments and to Repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act
Government Orders

2:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

That was a 40 minute speech with no questions or comments.

Points of Order
Government Orders

December 7th, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Madam Speaker, I raise a very important point of order with respect to procedure in the House just a few minutes ago when you called for a vote. It was a correct ruling on your part that on the voice vote the noise from the nay side far exceeded that on the yea side. You called it correctly by saying “In my opinion the nays have it”. At that stage Liberals stood five demanding a recorded vote. According to the rules of the House, such a vote is automatically deferred, this being a Friday.

I think your procedure by conducting it again and changing the outcome is such that the present debate should be precluded. I think you should revert to the decision already made and called. The Liberals having responded, that decision was made and it was clear.

That is what we should simply go back to. That is my very strong suggestion, plea and, if I may use a union term, demand.

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to speak very briefly on this point of order.

I must say that when you asked for the question the first time, I heard you say “In my opinion the yeas have it”, but you pointed to the nay side.

I am told and the rebroadcasting suggests that you said indeed “In my opinion the nays have it”. At that time, we did see the Liberals stand to ask for a recorded division.

The point of order raised by our colleague from Elk Island is quite relevant, in the sense that it raises some concern, after what happened a little earlier, that is that the Speaker, as objective as she may be, may in some circumstances reverse the result of a vote properly taken earlier.

I do not know what to say in these circumstances, except to suggest that we be informed of the result of the first vote, which, I believe, was conclusive.

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, on the same point of order, I find it strange that we should be having this debate on a bill that has had the support of all members at every stage of the process so far.

I realize that this is not the issue, but it is nevertheless strange to have such a debate at this point, since we started from the premise that we were in agreement. At the beginning I understood much the same thing as what the member for Verchères—Les Patriotes just suggested.

When I heard the Chair the first time, it said that the yeas had it, but it pointed to the nays. It was not clear. To clarify the situation, the Chair put the question to the House a second time. Then, things seemed clear.

This is how I saw it, rightly or wrongly. But the first time I clearly heard “the yeas have it”, while the Chair was pointing to the nays. We were told that the yeas had it, but the Chair pointed to the nays. It was not clear. This is how I saw it.

To clarify the situation, the Chair put the question a second time. This seems normal to me.

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Madam Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. The House leader may have selective hearing. I was under the impression you said when you stood that the nays have it. Then you pointed quite clearly to the nay side and said that the nays have it.

This could be a dangerous precedent. Maybe everybody agreed with the bill. I have no problems with that. However, if government is showing that “If we don't get the vote our way by a little bit of a push we can get the Speaker to change his or her mind”, that is extremely dangerous.

You made a ruling, Madam Speaker, and unless you stick to that ruling, I think we are setting here today a very dangerous precedent which puts all of us, certainly on this side, in jeopardy in relation to votes on any bills in the future.

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise on the same point of order in support of my opposition colleagues in the Canadian Alliance, the Bloc and my colleague in the coalition who just spoke. Very clearly I heard you state that the nays have it. You clearly pointed to this side of the House.

As my colleague from St. John's just said, regardless of the premise of the bill that we are dealing with, what we really are dealing with on this issue is a matter of principle. If this principle is not sound and not intact, whereby if the ruling of the Speaker can be changed at the whim of the government and basically just call for another vote, then it really calls into question everything we do in this Chamber in the sense that it puts the opposition at a distinct disadvantage.

Madam Speaker, I think that if you seek perhaps some advice from the clerks at the table, they may be able to enlighten you as to exactly what transpired and what course of action would be appropriate now.

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul
Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific)

Madam Speaker, I was in the Chamber when no doubt what the opposition was saying, that you said nay and you pointed to that side, was correct. I have said that. I stood. However it should also be acknowledged that because there were some discussions going on both sides of the House there was not great clarity and the Speaker--

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Winnipeg North—St. Paul, MB

Madam Speaker, excuse me, perhaps the opposition would be quiet and respectful of my right to speak and not disturb me. I have always been respectful to the opposition.

May I continue, Madam Speaker. Then you sought the permission of the House--

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

I apologize to the secretary of state but we are not going to make this a debate. I would like him to finish and then I will in fact rule.

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Winnipeg North—St. Paul, MB

Madam Speaker, in fact I am concluding. Then at the point you wanted to create greater clarity you sought to call the vote again and there was an implied consent because in the vote taken both sides participated in the nays and the yeas. In fact they gave implied consent, Madam Speaker. The Speaker made the right ruling and the yeas in fact won the day.

Points of Order
Government Orders

2:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

I thank all hon. members for trying to enlighten the Chair. There was no intention on the part of the Chair in any way to influence the members' vote or to influence the actual outcome of the motion.

The fact was that from the point of view of the Chair there was not clarity, maybe there was for the members sitting down, in terms of the nays and the yeas. I apologize if that has caused any problems.

On the other hand, I would like to point out for the hon. member for Elk Island that when in fact I did say shall I start again, there was no one who said no.

We can check. There are two ways the Chair can proceed. I also want to mention, and the blues can be checked if the hon. member would like, I did not rule on the first part. I asked only, shall I then take the nays and the yeas again. I did not say it is agreed. I did not say on division. So There was not a ruling actually on the vote. We can check the rules. We can check the blues, if you wish. The Speaker then has the right to rule on Monday.

I think, if I may be so bold to say, we can check them or, if you would like, I can rule right now that the decision here is--