House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I also would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Moudud Ahmed, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 81(14) to inform the House that the motion to be considered tomorrow during consideration of the business of supply is as follows:

That, before the Kyoto Protocol is ratified by the House, there should be an implementation plan that Canadians understand, that sets out the benefits, how the targets are to be reached and its costs.

This motion standing in the name of the hon. member for Calgary Southwest is votable. Copies of the motion are available at the table.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to be absolutely clear on the record on the question from the member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough. I have been advised that all such operations of telemarketing have been suspended.

Ethics
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, two documents entitled “Proposals to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Ethics Commissioner) and other Acts as a consequence”, and “Proposals to amend the Rules of the Senate and the Standing Orders of the House of Commons to implement the 1997 Milliken-Oliver Report”.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

October 23rd, 2002 / 3:05 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to seven petitions.

Lobbyists Registration Act
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-15, an act to amend the Lobbyists Registration Act.

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

Ethics
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, three initiatives from the Prime Minister's eight point ethics plan have just been presented in the House: a draft bill to establish an independent ethics commissioner reporting directly to Parliament; a draft code of conduct for parliamentarians; and changes to the Lobbyists Registration Act.

In 1994 the government created the post of ethics counsellor, the first of its kind in a Commonwealth country, to implement our 1993 red book commitment and to fulfill the promise that we made to Canadians at that time.

Today we have introduced a draft bill that will go beyond the scope of our campaign promise. It establishes an independent ethics commissioner reporting directly to Parliament.

The ethics commissioner would be a senior officer of Parliament. He would be independent and would have broad powers for the investigation of ethical matters involving ministers.

MPs, Senators and the public would be able to file complaints about ministers with the ethics commissioner. The commissioner would report to the Prime Minister, to the person who has made the complaint, and to the minister being investigated.

The Prime Minister would be able to seek the ethics commissioner's advice on issues concerning ministers, as is the case with such officers at the provincial level. The ethics commissioner would also report annually to Parliament on these matters.

The ethics commissioner would also administer a code of conduct for all parliamentarians, including ministers.

I have also tabled a draft of the code of ethics, based on the Milliken-Oliver report of 1997. The ethics commissioner, who would administer the code, would report directly to the committees of the House and Senate in connection with the code, and would fall under their authority.

The draft parliamentary code is based on the Milliken-Oliver proposals with three modifications which address concerns that have already been raised by parliamentarians.

First, there is a single ethics commissioner for ministerial ethical issues and the code for parliamentarians. This is the approach used in the provinces, where it works well.

Second, there would be no disclosure of spousal interests under the code's disclosure regime to reflect the prevailing view, although disclosure of spousal interests would still apply to ministers and to parliamentary secretaries. This disclosure regime would, of course, be less detailed than what applies to ministers under the Prime Minister's requirements for public office holders. Ministers would continue to make a confidential report of interests for themselves and their spouses to the ethics commissioner. A summary of the information for ministers would continue to be made public.

The third change we have proposed to the Milliken-Oliver code is that only parliamentarians could complain against other parliamentarians in their respective House, and each House would administer the code in its respective Chamber.

The code would serve the interests of Canadians and of Parliament. It would modernize our present rules, as has already been done in the provinces, as well as in the U.K., France and Australia.

Under this code, the ethics commissioner would be an independent source of advice on ethical matters and would provide an independent complaint resolution mechanism.

A code for members must be non-partisan and must serve all members in all parties. The Milliken-Oliver code, on which this document is based, was prepared by an all party committee.

The Leader of the Opposition's September 18 document “Building Trust II” calls for a code for parliamentarians. The House leader of the Progressive Conservative Party put forward a motion in the last session calling for a code based on the Milliken-Oliver report. The leader of the New Democratic Party introduced a bill to implement the Milliken-Oliver report in the last session.

The draft ethics commissioner bill and code will be referred to the procedure and House affairs committee. These documents have also been--

Ethics
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, there has been no interpretation for the last five minutes or so.

Ethics
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Perhaps the hon. member has a problem at his desk. Some members are reporting that it is working and others that it is not. We shall attempt to solve the problem immediately.

It seems that it is all right now. I would ask the hon. Deputy Prime Minister to continue his presentation.

Ethics
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Ottawa South, ON

These documents have also been tabled in the other place.

Given that these issues affect members of both Houses, the House and Senate committees examining these documents may wish to consider meeting together to hear witnesses of common interest.

The Prime Minister has stated that the government is open to considering changes which maintain an effective code and serve the interests of members and their constituents. That is why we have tabled these documents in draft form to give the committee flexibility on these matters.

I am pleased to work with the committee and all parliamentarians on these important matters.

Ethics
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that we are not here today because the government has to announce an important new step in the era of ethics. We are here today because the government's ethical conduct has been shameful.

Why are we here today? It is because in 1993 the government went coast to coast and promised Canadians an independent ethics commissioner. Year after year, and I cannot go through all the cases, the government has been confronted with scandal after scandal because it never fulfilled its promise during the 1993 election, despite repeated calls by this party and the other opposition parties.

In 1997 after the hard work of members of both houses of Parliament, including from our side the hon. member for Elk Island, the government received a draft code of conduct for members of parliament. Similarly it went through another two election campaigns and once again never acted on that. It went through scandal after scandal. The record is appalling.

Today we are here because we have in every major newspaper in the country mug shots of the former minister of national defence, two former solicitors general and two former public works ministers. Those are posted in every newspaper. They are posted on every bulletin board and, for all I know, in most police stations in the country.

What we are getting today is just an exercise in image building, but it is more. It is more than an exercise in image building. It is an exercise--

Ethics
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Ethics
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. It is impossible to hear the Leader of the Opposition who has the floor.

Ethics
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is just an exercise of the government trying to repair its image, but when I look at the contents of this package, I fear it is much worse than that. It is an exercise in revenge. I want to go over some of the--