House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was price.

Topics

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

It seems to me that we have cleared the air on what was alleged and what was understood. Again I have trouble relating this to a strict question in terms of privileges of members, which hon. members can read about in our wonderful book on procedure that is available at the table, Marleau and Montpetit. There is an excellent chapter in there on privilege.

In fact, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader himself has published a book dealing with issues relating to parliamentary privilege, which is of course a masterpiece. We could all benefit from looking at those.

However, I have not heard anything in the exchanges today that has assisted the Chair in finding that there is in fact a question of privilege. There is a grievance and the grievance has been aired. There has been some clarification. Perhaps we ought to leave it.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to please clarify the reasons why you would not allow my S. O. 31 statement.

I would respectfully submit that I did not in any way intend it to be a personal attack on any member in the House but rather to take the very words that the ethics counsellor himself used about the Prime Minister, saying that he was no ordinary MP. It was within that context that these particular words were put together.

I did provide you, Mr. Speaker, with the text of what I was about to submit to the House. I would ask if you would please clarify what it is about that statement that you considered to be a personal attack on a member of the House.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I will not read the hon. member's statement to the House. What I will read to him are the guidelines that are set out on page 363 of Marleau and Montpetit:

In presiding over the conduct of this daily activity,—

This is the daily activity of Standing Order 31 statements.

—Speakers have been guided by a number of well-defined prohibitions. In 1983, when the procedure for “Statements by Members” was first put in place, Speaker Sauvé stated that

Members may speak on any matter of concern and not necessarily on urgent matters only;

Personal attacks are not permitted;

Congratulatory messages, recitations of poetry and frivolous matters are out of order.

These guidelines are still in place today, although Speakers tend to turn a blind eye to the latter restriction.

I'll say.

In a ruling in 1996, Mr. Speaker Parent further cautioned that “once they”, the words, “have been uttered, it is very difficult to retract them and the impression they leave is not always easily erased”. Accordingly, the Chair errs on the side of caution in making rulings in respect of statements by members.

In this particular case, the hon. member for Kelowna has provided me with a copy of his statement that he was in the process of reading. I have to say that when I read the whole statement I have no doubt that my decision was correct.

It appears to me that it was in my view a personal attack. Statements by members are not ones that can be responded to. If members are going to attack one another in statements by members, there is no opportunity for anyone else to comment. Question period is a different kettle of fish. There is question and answer, there is give and take, but in a statement by members there is not.

The Chair is not prepared to countenance members rising on the guise of those statements and attacking one another in the House. There is enough opportunity to do that at other times. It is not going to happen under statements by members.

In my view the hon. member for Kelowna stepped over the line in his statement. Having read the entire statement, I have no doubt I was correct.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, in question period today in answer to my question in regard to agriculture, the agriculture minister saw fit to cast aspersions on the Canadian Alliance and me with the idea of our not having asked any questions or participated in any activity in agriculture in the House. That is not true. We have had over eight questions and dozens of statements and speeches. I believe the agriculture minister should retract that.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Once again we are in a situation where members say things on which there is disagreement. I do not know how this could be a point of order.

The hon. member and the minister clearly have a disagreement. I know that the minister seemed, in his answer, to disagree with the member's statement that nothing had been done. These disagreements are commonplace on issues of policy in the House.

While the hon. member may not like the answer the minister gave, I sense the minister was not entirely happy with the question either. That is sometimes the way things are and we all have to live with it. I do not think there is a point of order here.

Order In Council Appointments
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River
Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, a number of order in council appointments recently made by the government.

Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 110(1) they are deemed to be referred to the appropriate standing committee, a list of which is attached.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River
Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to two petitions.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34 I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the delegation of the Canada-Japan Interparliamentary Group to the ninth annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Valparaiso, Chile, January 14 to January 19, 2001.

Immigration And Refugee Protection Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-11, an act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Judges Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-12, an act to amend the Judges Act and to amend another Act in consequence.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Parliament Of Canada Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-273, an act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (recognized political parties).

Mr. Speaker, this bill would provide that in order to receive official party status a political party would need at least 10% of the seats in the House of Commons and members of parliament from at least three provinces or territories.

The bill would therefore prevent fringe parties such as the Progressive Conservative Party and the NDP, with only 4% of the seats in the House of Commons, from receiving the benefit of financial resources that come with the distinction of official party status.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-274, an act to amend the Criminal Code (Order of prohibition).

Mr. Speaker, I have a bill that I think has a little more substance than the last one.

It refers to a section of the criminal code, currently section 161, which deals with an offender convicted of a sexual offence. The enactment would permit the court to make a prohibition for the offender from being in a dwelling house where the offender knows or ought to know that a person under the age of 14 is present without being in the custody or control of a person also of that age.

In essence what the bill will do is allow judges to currently expand the umbrella of protection when putting in place prohibition orders for those who have been convicted of a sexual offence.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-275, an act to amend the Criminal Code (recruitment of children and swarming).

Mr. Speaker, once again, this bill pertains to the criminal code in its current form. I introduced the bill in the last parliament.

It would essentially amend the criminal code to include a provision that would make it illegal to elicit or recruit children to commit criminal offences.

It would also put in place a new provision of the criminal code which would prohibit the offence of swarming, which is an offence that is sadly becoming increasingly prevalent in a number of communities around the country.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Competition Act
Routine Proceedings

February 21st, 2001 / 3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-276, an act to amend the Competition Act (abuse of dominant position).

Mr. Speaker, I am please to reintroduce a bill dealing with changes to the Competition Act, most specifically section 78 dealing with abuse of dominance.

Recently growing consolidation and concentration throughout a variety of industries, most specifically in the retail sector, have led to a number of abuses, particularly of suppliers. Currently the Competition Act deals with the notion and the concept of monopoly and oligopoly but does not deal with the more technical question of oligopsony or monopsony.

As a result the bill would provide more teeth to the Competition Act to ensure that items such as high listing fees, trade allowances, et cetera, would be prohibited and would have, at least in their purpose, result or the intent, a competitive and a less harmful outcome for consumers and Canadians as a whole.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

moved:

That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development that it have the power to divide Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Employment Insurance (Fishing) Regulations, in order that all questions related to the establishment of the premium rate and to Employment Insurance surplus management be in a separate piece of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to my motion that is supported by all the opposition parties. At committee stage, this motion would divide Bill C-2, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act, into two separate bills.

There have previously been two precedents in the House for this type of motion. In fact, the House of Commons Procedure and Practice stipulates the following:

Once a bill has been referred to a committee—

That is the case.

—the House may give the committee an instruction which authorizes it to do what it otherwise could not do, such as, for example, examining a portion of a bill and reporting it separately, examining certain items in particular, dividing a bill into more than one bill—

Our motion does exactly that.

Bill C-2 brings to our EI plan some of the improvements the Bloc Quebecois has been demanding for several years now. However, these changes are minor compared to the EI surplus, which could have been used to improve the plan.

Under Bill C-2, only about 8% of annual surpluses will be given back to workers, to the unemployed, while 92% of these surpluses will continue to be used to cover other government expenditures, including the debt. The money used for all that will come from the contributions paid by employers and workers, but particularly from the benefits that the unemployed will not receive.

This part of the bill is aimed at legalizing the fact that EI contributions are no longer insurance premiums but rather a new payroll tax. This should be the subject of a separate debate, different from the one on improvements to the plan.

The proposal I brought forward is supported by the three opposition parties. Indeed, those parties made very eloquent presentations at a press conference, the purpose of which was to show that, even though all parties do not share the same views on ways of improving the plan, it is possible to have similar objectives.

The Canadian Alliance's views on ways of improving the plan may be very different from ours or from those of the New Democratic Party or the Progressive Conservative Party, but we share the same position with regard to the fact that, by hiding a provision in a bill, the government will legalize the misappropriation of surpluses in the EI fund, something it has been doing for several years. This issue cannot be dealt with at the same time as improvements to the plan.

This is why we are asking the House to mandate the committee to study both issues separately. This afternoon, the committee will hear the human resources development minister, who will have to justify her bill, especially since, during the whole electoral campaign, liberal members have said that the system could be improved some more at the committee stage. I think of the members for Bourassa and for Gaspé—Bonaventure—Îles-de-la-Madeleine—Pabok in particular. They were saying that, in committee, improvements other than the ones included in the former Bill C-44, and which are still not found in Bill C-2, could be made.

If we want the committee to give appropriate time to the priority consideration of improvements to the system, I propose this motion which involves the study by the committee of the issue of improvements so that more improvements can be made since Bill C-2 only contains a few.

I am sure that those who will appear before this committee will tell us that these improvements are far from being enough and that many others will have to be added to the government's propositions to broaden eligibility for EI benefits, to eliminate the qualifying period and to ensure that seasonal workers' status is not dependant upon the economic situation in their region and that they are guaranteed a decent income between jobs.

Therefore, all issues concerning the transformation of EI premiums into a payroll tax scheme should be the subject of another debate at a later date.

At that time, the whole issue of tax reform could be raised. We should not forget that the way EI premiums are currently taxed represents a very regressive tax because anyone who earns up to $39,000 has to contribute.

That means that someone earning $43,000, $44,000 or $50,000 a year does not contribute on income over that limit. EI contributors are the ones contributing to the elimination of the deficit and to the reduction of Canada's debt, not those earning over $39,000 or, even worse, those who do not contribute to the EI scheme at all, including members of parliament.

A broad public debate is going on about the whole issue of tax reform, an issue that ought to be discussed elsewhere, for example in a joint committee bringing together members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and members of the Standing Committee on Finance. It is a much broader issue that is changing the balance between income tax, taxes and payroll tax and their impact on productivity. Those are very distinct elements.

Therefore, I call on the members of the House to debate that issue and to pass this motion. I hope that the Liberal majority will show an open mind and let us debate that matter today.