House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair has received notice of a question of privilege from the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

West Nova
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I reluctantly rise on a question of privilege.

I consider the member for St. John's West to be a fair and honourable man. I am sure he made an error earlier when, in the preamble to one of his questions, he referred to my visit at the Irving lodge as being a vacation. He knows well, and he has been quoted in the media as saying so, that I was there on official business.

I accommodated the Irvings within a business trip I was doing to New Brunswick in my capacity in a former portfolio. For it to be portrayed as being a vacation I think is unfair to me and unfair to my colleagues. I know that the member will want to make a correction.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. It does not appear that is the case at the moment.

Does the hon. Minister of the Environment have a question of privilege also?

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, at the outset of question period, the very first words uttered by the Leader of the Opposition were that I was in contravention of the ethics guidelines.

This is totally incorrect. A totally false statement has been made about me. I ask that the hon. member, at this time, apologize to the House for failing to tell the truth about the situation, with respect to myself and the ethics counsellor's guidelines.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question by a member from the Bloc Quebecois, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs used the word fraud in reference to the 1995 referendum. Given that I personally participated in the referendum process in 1995, as did the Government of Quebec, the federal government and 93% of the population of Quebec, I demand that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs apologize and withdraw his remark.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The questions of privilege are all very interesting.

However, the hon. members concerned are obviously not interested in responding at this time.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised by the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia concerning whether Bill S-7, the heritage lighthouses preservation bill, violates the financial prerogative of the Crown and the precedence of the House of Commons with respect to financial legislation.

I would like to thank the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia for having raised this important matter. I would like also to thank the hon. government House leader for his remarks on the issue.

I would remind hon. members that the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia indicated at the beginning of his intervention that he is a supporter of this bill. The question that has been raised is of a procedural nature only and does not deal with the desirability of the bill as public policy.

The hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia pointed out that the Constitution Act, 1867 requires that a bill requiring the expenditure of funds be introduced first in the House of Commons and that it be accompanied by a royal recommendation. Bill S-7, as its number indicates, originated in the Senate.

He also cited the following passage from page 711 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice :

--private Members' bills involving the spending of public money have been allowed to be introduced and to proceed through the legislative process on the assumption that a royal recommendation would be submitted by a Minister of the Crown before the bill was read a third time and passed.

The hon. member also drew the attention of the House to clause 17 of the bill which reads:

The owner of a heritage lighthouse shall maintain it in a reasonable state of repair and in a manner that is in keeping with its heritage character.

He went on to indicate that, while the bill contains no provision directly requiring that money be spent, it seemed unreasonable in his view that the maintenance of lighthouses would be possible without the expenditure of funds.

The hon. government House leader in his intervention underlined the fact that the bill does not expend any public money. He also pointed out that this House has previously approved similar legislation, the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, adopted in 1988. He noted that the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, which operates in a way similar to that proposed in Bill S-7, had not required a royal recommendation.

I will remind the House at the outset that it is outside the responsibilities of the Speaker to pronounce on questions of constitutional law. However, the requirement that bills expending public funds be accompanied by a royal recommendation is also found in Standing Order 79, which states:

This House shall not adopt or pass any vote, resolution, address or bill for the appropriation of any part of the public revenue, or any tax or impost, to any purpose that has not been first recommended to the House by a message from the Governor General in the session in which such vote, resolution, address or bill is proposed.

As Speaker, it is my obligation to ensure that the provisions of the Standing Orders are followed. It is important to remember, however, that the requirement for a royal recommendation relates to the expenditure of public funds and not simply to the fact that someone, somehow or other, may be required to make an expenditure as a result of a provision in the bill.

In the present case the question is, I think, straightforward. Both the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia and the government House leader are in agreement that the bill does not immediately require the expenditure of public funds. Any funds that may be required to comply with clause 17 of the bill will be required of the owners of lighthouses only once those lighthouses have been designated as heritage lighthouses.

After examining the bill, I can find no obligation for the spending of public funds either by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board or by the Minister of Canadian Heritage. As there is no obligation for public expenditure created by the passage of Bill S-7, there is no need for a royal recommendation.

I would also like to take this opportunity to correct a possible misapprehension that hon. members may have concerning the royal recommendation and private members’ bills.

The passage cited by the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia from page 711 of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice indicates that a royal recommendation must be forthcoming before a private member's bill, which requires the expenditure of public funds, can be given third reading. This provision only applies to private members' bills in the narrow sense, that is, bills which originate with private members in the House of Commons.

While Bill S-7 is being dealt with under the provisions of private members' business, it is a bill originating in the Senate. Standing Order 80(1) states:

All aids and supplies granted to the Sovereign by the Parliament of Canada are the sole gift of the House of Commons, and all bills for granting such aids and supplies ought to begin with the House, as it is the undoubted right of the House to direct, limit, and appoint in all such bills, the ends, purposes, considerations, conditions, limitations and qualifications of such grants, which are not alterable by the Senate.

Although in the present case there are no grounds for invoking this standing order, hon. members should be mindful of the fact that our rules do not permit Senate bills which require the expenditure of public funds. Items of private members' business which require a royal recommendation must originate in the House of Commons.

I would like to thank the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia for having raised this issue. The precedence of the House of Commons in financial matters and the need to safeguard the financial prerogative of the Crown are fundamental elements of our system of parliamentary government. As Speaker, I share the concern of all members that our financial rules be strictly respected.

Genome Canada
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Beauharnois—Salaberry
Québec

Liberal

Serge Marcil Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Industry, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, Genome Canada's first report for the 2002-03 fiscal year.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

October 29th, 2003 / 3:15 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present on behalf of the government, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), in both official languages, the government's response to four petitions.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 50th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the provision standing orders governing private members' business.

If the House gives it consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 50th report later this day.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Pursuant to its order of reference of Tuesday, April 8, 2003, your committee has considered Bill C-23, an act respecting the registration of information relating to sex offenders, to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, and agreed to report it with amendment.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Pursuant to its order of reference of Wednesday, October 8, 2003, your committee has considered Bill C-46, an act to amend the Criminal Code (capital markets fraud and evidence-gathering), and has agreed to report it without amendment.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Fontana London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, on the order in council appointment of Michel C. Simard to the position of senior citizenship judge. We respectfully submit this to the House of Commons.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 50th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed?

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)