House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was labour.

Topics

International Aid
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Essex
Ontario

Liberal

Susan Whelan Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada recognizes that famine has caused a critical situation for the people of Eritrea. As a result, Canada has committed an additional $3 million to provide emergency assistance to help purchase and distribute food aid to drought and war affected Eritreans. As part of our contribution, $1 million will be contributed to UNICEF to undertake an emergency water supply and sanitation program to provide clean water to those affected. This brings Canada's total contribution to $4.2 million to assist those in Eritrea.

I thank the hon. member and other members on this side of the House for having raised this very serious issue.

Saint-Hubert Airport
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

For two years, the Minister of Transport has been dragging his feet so much with regard to the transfer of Saint-Hubert airport to the City of Longueuil that we are beginning to wonder if the government still intends to transfer the property.

How can the Minister of Transport explain the fact that, two years after talks began, we are still no further ahead and Saint-Hubert airport has still not been transferred to the City of Longueuil?

Saint-Hubert Airport
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member opposite for her question. She is aware that we have been looking into this matter for several months. Unfortunately, I must tell her that our review is not yet finished, but that it will not take much longer.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Right Hon. Donald C. McKinnon, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

May 1st, 2003 / 3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to ask the government House leader to advise us of what the business is for the rest of this week and next week. Could he also advise the House if he will be bringing forward Bill C-10A? It has been on the agenda week after week on Tuesdays and always withdrawn. Will it be on the agenda next Tuesday, and will he use his time allocation motion so that it is completed on that day?

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note the lobby just put before us by the hon. member for Bill C-10A to be debated next week.

This afternoon, we will continue the debate on the opposition motion. Tomorrow, we will commence with Bill C-34, the long-awaited bill to amend the Parliament of Canada Act.

I have informed the House leaders of the other parties of my intention to propose, pursuant to Standing Order 73(1), that this bill be referred to committee before second reading. If this debate is completed by the end of the day, we will return to third reading of Bill C-9, which deals with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; then we will go to Bill C-13, the reproductive technologies bill, but I would be surprised if we got that far tomorrow.

On Monday and Wednesday, we will return to the two bills that I just mentioned and we will add to that Bill C-35, regarding military judges, which I think was introduced this morning. Then we will complete, I hope, Bill C-33, dealing with the transfer of offenders.

On Tuesday, and again I am responding to the request made by my colleagues opposite, we will continue consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-10, respecting the Criminal Code.

Next Thursday will be an allotted day.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, there has been consultation among all parties in the House and I believe you would find consent for the following travel authorization. I move:

That, in relation to its study on relations with Muslim countries, 10 members and the necessary staff of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade be authorized to travel to New York, Morocco, London and Paris from May 8 to 15, 2003.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to respond to the point of order raised on April 30 by the right hon. member for Calgary Centre concerning remarks alleged to have been made by the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans during the emergency debate which took place on April 29 concerning the closure of the cod fishery.

I have reviewed the Hansard blues and the video record of the proceedings and cannot find anything in those records that violates our rules concerning the use of unparliamentary words or expressions.

That being said, the right hon. member for Calgary Centre is quite correct in pointing out that Hansard records an interjection by the hon. member for Labrador saying the minister uttered some words, but the member for Labrador did not rise at the time to seek the intervention of the Chair nor has he raised the matter with the Speaker to provide further information or to seek redress.

Under these circumstances, I do not consider that there are any grounds on which a point of order might be based and, accordingly, I consider the matter closed.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with regard to the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages and how it may relate to Standing Order 21. I also seek your opinion regarding its relevance to parliamentary privilege and whether it is a conflict of interest.

The report reads as follows:

Pursuant to Standing Order 108, the Committee adopted the following resolution:

It is resolved that the Standing Committee on Official Languages express its support for the initiative of [the member for Ottawa--Vanier] in the Quigley v. Canada case, and request the House of Commons suggest to its Board of Internal Economy to make available a maximum budget of $30,000 to cover a portion of the legal fees incurred by [the member for Ottawa--Vanier] for his role as intervener in this case.

The report is signed by the member for Ottawa--Vanier.

Standing Order 21 states that no member is entitled to vote upon any question in which he or she has a direct pecuniary interest.

Page 189 of Marleau and Montpetit states:

On being elected, Members of the House of Commons become trustees of public confidence. Members must be seen to be impartial and to derive no personal benefit or gain from their decisions.

I am not sure if the member voted for or against the motion in committee but signing off on any document is a decision. A signature is legal proof of a person's decision on the matter.

The member for Ottawa--Vanier has made a parliamentary decision that grants him personal gain to the tune of $30,000.

Page 194 of Marleau and Montpetit states:

A Member with a pecuniary interest in a matter simply refrains from voting. In the event the Member votes, the vote may be questioned and eventually disallowed.

What I am arguing today, Mr. Speaker, my be breaking new ground by introducing the notion of a signature on a report, but there is a clear relationship between the report and the member's pecuniary interest. The member's signature on the report has a parliamentary consequence almost as effective as the member's vote.

I would think that a chairman with a pecuniary interest in a committee report would refrain from signing on it, as a member should refrain from voting on such a matter.

Since the signature of the member for Ottawa--Vanier constitutes a decision, it meets the criteria on page 189 of Marleau and Montpetit:

Members must be seen to be impartial and to derive no personal benefit or gain from their decisions.

This decision by the member for Ottawa—Vanier is a clear conflict of interest and a breach of the Standing Orders and the practices of the House. The report, Mr. Speaker, should be withdrawn.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I became acquainted with this issue just before question period when the Leader of the Opposition made me aware of it. There are still a number of matters that have been raised during this point of order of which there is no confirmation yet.

The first item this afternoon alleges that the member had somehow a personal gain in this. Most of us know the hon. member and we know that he is certainly not the lawyer representing himself, so he does not have a personal gain in the sense that he would personally benefit from the legal action and funding for which the committee, on which he sits and chairs, is asking the House of Commons.

Second, there is no evidence, at least not any demonstrated yet, that in fact any of these expenses have been undertaken. If it is a matter of requesting that these committee expenditures be paid, we may like it or dislike it. That is an interesting debate, but if they have not been undertaken, let alone the member having a personal gain from them, the accusation of a conflict of interest may be somewhat overstated in the case at hand. In any event, I am sure Mr. Speaker will acquaint himself with the details of the matter and report to the House in due time.

In summary, I think that it would be important to ascertain whether these accusations of a personal gain, in terms of a pecuniary interest, are in fact materially true, which would hardly be the case given that the member does not, of course, have his own law firm. He does not gain personally, he does not represent himself, and he is not a lawyer. We all know that. So certainly, that part of it is at least overstated somewhat.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Who would pay if the House did not?

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Whether or not he would have paid that himself and asked for reimbursement, as was just asked by the right hon. member, is not proven because he does not even know, nor do I, whether the expenses actually happened at this time or whether they ever would if the funding were not secure.

This goes a little beyond what is at least materially evident at this point. Nevertheless, I am sure Mr. Speaker will verify the veracity of the allegations.